A Week of Free Things: Jathia’s Wager

Still from Jathia’s Wager. CC-BY

People think the Internet contains the sum of all human knowledge. Even if that were true (which it obviously is not), there’s another point to make.

For how long?

Files, posts, pages, even entire websites go missing from teh interwebz every day. Most never reappear. So what about that human knowledge? Where does it go?

Furthermore, paradigms shift. What becomes of all the files that are obsolete? Example: What happened to Macromedia/Adobe Flash? Sites that relied upon it became unreadable. Movies made with Flash became unreadable. Even if the file was still available, it was for all intents and purposes quite useless.

These changes weaken the Internet and just as surely they weaken the Commons.

Why not restore them?

Jathia’s Wager is a science fiction film about a young man living in an isolated community of humans who must make a life changing decision about his future species. Just as open-source software is a collaboration of programmers creating free code, this film was created by a collaboration of movie enthusiasts, and it is being distributed for free online. The audience is encouraged to participate in future derivative works, and the original source materials are made available for that purpose.

So says the blurb for Solomon Rothman’s sci-fi short, Jathia’s Wager. Yet the torrent by which the movie was distributed has long since burned. None of the six websites that hosted it exist anymore. Makes it awful hard to “participate” when there is no access to the source or even the derivative material.

Jathia’s Wager was one of the very first open source movie projects, in which source materials for a film were made publicly available for people to create their own alternate endings, even completely alternate versions. There have been dozens since then, yet Jathia’s Wager still holds a place of great historical merit. It deserves to breathe.

Curiously, Jathia’s Wager wound up in a project by IBM to train its AI, and part of the Open Video Scene Detection Dataset. Yet the movie itself – poof.

We unpoof it for you here.

Download Jathia’s Wager from The Seattle Star here.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, the content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.